Koichi Kawai began the Kawai journey in 1927, but when he died suddenly in 1955, he was succeeded by 33-year-old Shigeru Kawai, who would lead his family’s company into the realm of modern manufacturing. With Japan’s flourishing economy, Shigeru foresaw a rapid growth in the musical instrument industry. He realised that the company could not continue to rely solely upon traditional “handwork” production methods, and still continue to meet growing demand. He believed that the future would require the introduction of the finest production technologies, reserving expert handcraftsmanship for very specific tasks, which would later include the creation of the crown jewel of the Kawai brand.
Shigeru had a dream to build Japan’s finest grand piano – a pursuit of perfection and the quest for a spiritual union of man, nature and art. In 1999, the Shigeru Kawai range of pianos was launched, carrying his name, his legacy and his lifetime commitment to the piano.
Shigeru Kawai pianos are meticulously handcrafted with the highest level of care and expertise. They are the result of rigorous handwork and the use of specially selected materials, keeping them rare in both character and quantity. Of all the musical masterpieces that come forth from Kawai, fewer than one in one hundred will bear the name Shigeru.
A Shigeru Kawai piano is much more than the intelligent application of material, labour and design – the craftsman does not “build it”, s/he brings it to life. The sensitive nurturing of every part, every joint, every subtle nuance invests each piano with a unique, intangible quality. Each Shigeru Kawai piano possesses its own indivicual voice and character, and is perfected by an elite brand of craftsman, our Master Piano Artisans, each of whom is at the very pinnacle of their profession. With remarkable skills proven in the world’s finest concert halls and international piano competitions, each Artisan brings a wealth of experience and passion to the craft. The degree and measure of manual labour in every stage of the process is often five times more than on a regular piano, putting Shigeru Kawai grand pianos into a class of their own.
The hand-planing of the kigarashi aged Ezo Spruce soundboard; the temaki hand-winding of bass strings, the hand-pressing, reinforcing and voicing of shiko seion hammers, followed by some of the most stringent and comprehensive pre-setup regulation practice in the industry: all these and more are parts of the labour or love, devotion and honour that is a Shigeru Kawai piano.